Collective behaviour in multicell systems arises from exchange of chemicals/signals between cells and may be different from their intrinsic behaviour. These chemicals are products of regulated networks of biochemical pathways that underlie cellular functions, and can exhibit a variety of dynamics arising from the non-linearity of the reaction processes. We have addressed the emergent synchronization properties of a ring of cells, diffusively coupled by the end product of an intracellular model biochemical pathway exhibiting non-robust birhythmic behaviour. The aim is to examine the role of intercellular interaction in stabilizing the non-robust dynamics in the emergent collective behaviour in the ring of cells. We show that, irrespective of the inherent frequencies of individual cells, depending on the coupling strength, the collective behaviour does synchronize to only one type of oscillations above a threshold number of cells. Using two perturbation analyses, we also show that this emergent synchronized dynamical state is fairly robust under external perturbations. Thus, the inherent plasticity in the oscillatory phenotypes in these model cells may get suppressed to exhibit collective dynamics of a single type in a multicell system, but environmental influences can sometimes expose this underlying plasticity in its collective dynamics.
Volume 96, 2022
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